I read an Ahmadiyya Muslim (who do not believe in eternal Hell) state Surah 101:8-11 this way:
Hell is compared to a nursing mother. Implying those in it have not yet 'matured' or have not yet attained the spiritual development they should have sought in this life. The blazing fire could represent the pain and torment they will suffer knowing what they were created for and knowing what they actually attained.
Surah al-Qari`ah 101:9 gives us quite a variety of translations
|Pickthall||Yusuf Ali||Shakir||Sher Ali|
|A bereft and Hungry One will be his mother,||Will have his home in a (bottomless) Pit.||His abode shall be the abyss.||Hell will be a nursing mother to him.|
|Hilali/Khan||M. Sarwar||Irving||Rashad Khalifa|
|He will have his home in Hawiyah (pit, i.e. Hell).||will have hawiyah as their dwelling.||will have a Pit to mother him.||His destiny is lowly.|
This seems to be one of those passages that are not entirely clear from the Arabic and each translator just gives his best guess.
Certainly, I would not build any doctrine on a verse with such a doubtful translation.
An Arab friend responds to the above:
I think that Yusuf Ali is the best translation which conveys the meaning. Pickthall isn't so good. While Rashad Khalifa and Sher Ali are kind of off track.
In other words, it cannot be interpreted as a "nursing" Mother. There is nothing in the verse to indicate "nursing".
As for the Ahmadiyyas, there interpretation of hell being temporary because it's compared to a mother is definitely wrong. If they have any slightest idea of the Middle East Arabian culture they'll know that a man never leaves his mother even after he's married. Even nowadays, many men take their mothers with them to their new home (after marriage). The Arabs definitely understood the verse this way too.
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